Philippines faces FATF blacklist over casino AML

Julia Abad-Bacay, executive director of the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC), has said that the Philippines might be blacklisted by Paris-based anti-money laundering watchdog, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) if it fails to include casinos in the coverage of the Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA).

Abad-Bacay issued the warning on Monday after attending the budget hearing of the Senate committee on finance, chaired by Senator Loren Legarda.

Referring to a potential visit by a high-level mission from the Asia-Pacific Group on Money laundering and FATF before the end of the year “to ensure that the Philippine efforts to have the casino sector included in the AMLA is being sustained”, she told the committee that they would expect a law to be passed by Congress by next year.

Abad-Bacay also pointed out that the next mutual evaluation of the Philippines would be in 2018 and that they needed to start preparing for that from now since the inclusion of casinos in the AMLA would be one of the major focuses of the mutual evaluation.

Abad-Bacay stressed the need to amend the law or pass a new law so that the Philippines were not blacklisted by FATF. She also recommended strengthening the capacity of other sectors such as banking.